Biological computing machines, such as micro and nano-implants that can collect important information inside the human body, are transforming medicine. (Credit: EPFL)

Researchers have developed a protocol that enables a molecular network with multiple transmitters. The interface of computer science and biology —the Internet of Bio-Nano Things (IoBNT) — promises to revolutionize medicine and healthcare.

The IoBNT refers to biosensors that collect and process data, nano-scale labs-on-a-chip that run medical tests inside the body, the use of bacteria to design biological nano-machines that can detect pathogens, and nano-robots that swim through the bloodstream to perform targeted drug delivery and treatment.

Biomolecular communication is inspired by the body itself. In its simplest form it encodes “1” and “0” bits by releasing or not releasing molecular particles into the bloodstream — similar to ON-OFF-keying in wireless networks.

According to the researchers, biomolecular communication has emerged as the most suitable paradigm for networking nano-implants. It sends data by encoding it into molecules that then go through the bloodstream and are guided where to go and when to release their treatments, just like hormones.